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Wenatchee, Washington, attorney Dale Foreman has succeeded George Allan of Yakima as chair of the Washington Apple Commission.

Foreman, who has 500 acres of apple, pear, and cherry orchards in Washington State, said some people think the commission no longer exists. After losing a federal lawsuit three years ago, the commission had to end its domestic promotions of apples. But in its scaled-down form, the commission has an annual budget of more than $7 million, which is derived from grower assessments and federal funding for export promotions.

Most of the money is spent on promoting apples abroad, though some helps support other industry groups, such as USApple, the Northwest Horticultural Council, and Northwest Fruit Exporters.

USApple and the Northwest Horticultural Council work at the federal level on trade and political issues, Foreman said. “USApple has a huge focus on immigration reform—not just penalties, but opportunities to allow workers to come into the country legally.”

Apple Commission President Dave Carlson and other staff work on issues at the state level, he added.

Foreman was a Washington State legislator from 1992 to 1996 and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1996. He was chair of the Washington State Republican Party for four years before being elected to the Washington Apple Commission board.

Foreman said his goals as chair are to ensure that the commission does an excellent job in its three areas of responsibility: promoting apples in other countries; being a strong voice for the industry in Washington, D.C., and the state capital of Olympia; and protecting the Washington apple logo, which is still widely used to promote Washington apples in export markets.

Board positions

Foreman was appointed chair during the board’s annual meeting in Yakima in March. Cragg Gilbert of Yakima was named vice chair. Murray Michael of Quincy is chair of the operations committee, Mike Hambelton of Wenatchee chairs the foreign trade committee, and Richard Thomason of Brewster heads the industry affairs committee.

Newly elected to the board are: Debra Murphy of Royal City, who fills a new grower position representing parts of the state outside the Yakima and Wenatchee districts; Jay Fulbright of Dovex Fruit Company, Wenatchee; and Frank Davis of Borton & Sons, Yakima.

Also on the board are Jim Keller, Bill Zirkle, Eric Hansen, and George Allan of Yakima; Brian Sand of Orondo; and Janet Leister of Olympia.

Leister represents the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Hambelton, Fulbright, Davis, and Zirkle fill the four shipper positions on the board, and the rest of the board members fill grower positions.